Microsoft enlists Seinfeld to fight off Apple and save Vista

22 Aug 2008

South Park Mac v PC video

Microsoft has recruited comedian Jerry Seinfeld to take part in a US$300m advertising campaign to help shake off the clunky perception associated with its latest Windows Vista operating system.

According to a growing rumour mill, Seinfeld will appear alongside retired Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the US TV ad campaign that is set to air next month.

He is expected to be paid US$10m for appearing alongside one of the world’s richest men.

The focus of this unprecedented marketing campaign by Microsoft is to remove the perception of Windows Vista as clunky and hard to use compared with products from long-standing rival Apple and effectively rejuvenate the brand.

The campaign has been devised for Microsoft by Florida-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

The slots will use a variation of the slogan ‘Windows, not Walls’. They will highlight Vista’s openness and criticise Apple’s business model, which leaves little room for user requests.

The move is considered to be one of the biggest marketing campaigns in Microsoft’s history.

The campaign is timed to coincide with the release of Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 on 4 September, according to a leaked memo from Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer.

As well as Vista, the ads are also expected to address the perception of Microsoft’s Zune media player – Microsoft’s rival to the iPod – as a failure.

The new ads will hark back to a time when ballsy competitive ad campaigns were the hallmark of Apple and Microsoft’s growing enmity in Silicon Valley.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Jerry Seinfeld, who is set to star in one of Microsoft’s biggest marketing campaigns

South Park Mac v PC video

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years